Using Rose Essence in Perfume June 29 2018


(R. rugosa, R. alba, R. damascena, R. gallica, R. Centifolia. )

Delivery Methods

Rose Essential Oil: V (Vaporizer), T(Topical), I (Internal), S (Suppository), P(Perfume)

Rose Absolute: P(Perfume), LT (Limited Topical)

Yield: 60 roses for 1 drop of essential oil

Ethnobotanical Uses

Roses have long been revered for their intoxicating fragrance, utilized in love charms and beauty oils since the dawn of cosmetics.  Distilled for over 2,000 years, rose water has a rich history of both medicinal and culinary use. The renowned power of rose to “open the heart” echoes though stories of its use hailing from ancient times.  As a midwives’ and healers’ plant, hydrosol and essences of rose are astringent, easing bleeding, diarrhea, and congested lymph while gently soothing and tonifying delicate tissues.  Roses’ bitter, antispasmodic properties calm nausea and indigestion, thus the addition of rose water in many classic desserts, apertifs, teas, and bitters.  The cooling, drying, hormone-balancing action of the oil is useful for mitigating night-sweats and hot-flashes associated with menopause and other hormonal imbalances, creating the reputation of rose as a ”woman’s herb” in almost every culture.  As a fabled aphrodisiac, rose is used to induce a state of passion and harmony between mind, body, and partner as it soothes the nervous system and sharpens the senses.


The vast majority of rose extraction for essential oils and absolutes occurs in Bulgaria, France, Morocco, Egypt, Russia, and Turkey.  Small-scale artisanal distillation for rose water/hydrosol occur all around the world.

It takes about 60 rose flowers to produce one drop of essential oil, making this one of the most costly, precious oils are the market.  Petals are harvested by hand in the early morning and hydrodistilled on the same day. The initial distillation produces rose water/hydrosol which is redistilled to produce the standard “Rose Otto” or essential oil of commerce.  Solvent extracted absolutes of Rose are also produced and form the heart and body of thousands of perfumes around the globe.


Hydrodistilled Rosa damascena EO is composed primarily of citronellol, geraniol, nerol, linalool, methyleugenol, eugenol, and other rose alcohols.  The hydrosol is slightly acidic, just like the acid mantle on our skin, creating a perfect pH balance for facial cosmetic products.

Medicinal Applications

Skin care: Rose holds the title for the most renowned essence for skin care.  All it takes is a simple application of Rose Water/Hydrosol or diluted rose oil to the skin to immediately see the benefits of this oil.  Rose softens and tonifies, reducing wrinkles and broken capilliaries, while gently increasing circulation. Aids in healing and detoxification while lending a healthy glow to the skin.  The aroma is rejuvenating and joyful, light and bright: a fragrance of celebration and love. The broad spectrum antibacterial and antifungal action of rose oil make it a powerful disinfectant and medicinal tool for infections of all kinds.

Nervous System:  The scent of both the essential oil and absolutes is often prescribed as a calming, centering treatment for those experiencing anxiety, PTSD, and nervous fatigue. The antispasmodic properties of rose make it a relaxing treatment for tension and emotional trauma while the gentle, rejuvenating properties of the oil make it perfect for scar and wound healing. I add rose in traces to almost any soothing formula I make for its’ ability to comfort and soften both physical and emotional tension.  Effective in remarkably small amounts (less than 1%.)

Endocrine Function: Rose has an affinity for the female reproductive system and has long been used as a hormonal balancer. Women with endometriosis, adenomyosis, PCOS, fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, and other conditions and diseases of the reproductive system sometimes find great solace in the regular use of topical oil blends containing rose and other blood, lymph, and hormone regulating oils.  Rose’s two-fold ability to both support a healthy reproductive system and simultaneously support and regulate smooth liver function is notable, as so often hormonal imbalance and reproductive disease is paired with liver congestion and overload.

Blending Applications

Rose is irreplaceable in perfumes.  While synthetic fragrance manufacturers have produced hundreds of rose-like molecules, there is no true replacement for the real oil.  Be very wary of the authenticity of oils of rose that linger more than a day or two on the scent strip. Rose oils with pervasive and over-bearing) fragrance are often adulterated with synthetics. This oil may be expensive, but has a high odor intensity, which means a little goes a long way! The true hydrodistilled essential oil or “Otto” has a piercing green-floral intensity with a deep bitterness hiding beneath the surface and will present in semi-solid crystalline, yellow-pale green form at room temperature.  Just a few drops of the distilled essential oil exalts almost any perfume, while the orange-red absolutes have a rich, mellow, enveloping body note perfect for layering other fragrances into. Rose oil fragrance will vary depending on where they originate. Egyptian Rose absolute has a velvety cinnamon-note that lends a touch of spice to floral compositions or lily accords. Russian Apothecary Rose is bright and lemony, and combines beautifully with green notes and sweet balsams, creating a close approximation of a true rose in the garden. Moroccan Rose absolute is vibrant and alluring, imbued with languish complexity and hypnotic intrigue.  

While the cost of rose may be prohibitive, it is possible to create more dynamic rose accords by bolstering the fragrance with traces of less expensive ingredients like rose geranium, clary sage, lavender, palmarosa, litsea cubeba, green myrtle, rosewood leaf, champaca leaf, ginger , and many other essential oils and absolutes.  When creating such a rose accord, it is advisable to let the more expensive rose oil “shine through” using the accompanying “rose-like” oils to lift and altars the rose as opposed to burying and suppressing it. Rose is the essence of harmony and blends beautifully with almost every essence and is worth experimenting with for the sheer complexity of classic combinations that one wills stumble upon in the process.  You can also achieve fascinating results by blending rose with darker, heavier ingredients such as Nagarmotha, Patchouli, Vetiver, and Oakmoss, but remember to exercise a light hand in their application so as not to mask the rose. Add Frankincense EO and Lime EO to Rose for a sparkling incense combination. Experiment with rose-spice accords, using ginger, tomar, cardamom, black pepper, galangal or nutmeg to create contrast between sweet florals and biting spice notes.  Pair with any flower oil you like and watch what happens. I use a small amount of Rose absolute in almost every flower accord I create….Lilac, Lily, Narcissus, Hyacinth….each of these requires a little rose to come to life.


Cedar Rose Perfume

This cheerful orange-red perfume features a nice contract between the bright, resinous frankincense and the deeper wood notes of the Cedarwood.  Rich, hay-scented Lavender absolute, sweet Peru Balsam, and Rose form a balanced heart while a touch of ginger lends spice and intrigue when paired with vibrant, expansive Wild Orange.

10 ml alcohol (190 proof) or oil (Fractionated Coconut or Jojoba)

12d (drops) Frankincense EO (any type of your choosing)

3d Virginia Cedarwood Abs. (or another cedar oil of your choice)

3d Peru Balsam EO

1d Lavender Abs (Absolute)

5d Rose Abs (Absolute)

5d Wild Orange EO (cold pressed)

1d Ginger EO (fresh)

Rose Facial Serum/Rose Scar Serum

This is a tried-and-true scar reduction and all around skin-healing oil, which is also well suited as a daily facial serum.  Use a few drops topically on damaged skin 1-3 times/day.

25ml (5 tsp) Sunflower oil (or suitable carrier chosen for your skin)

3 ml Rosehip Seed or Safflower Oil (if available)

4d Rose EO (hydodistilled)

4d Helichrysum italicum EO

2d Cistus EO

Rose Accord

An “accord” is an approximation of a scent.  Many flowers and fruits do not produce essential oil, or the oil does not smell like the original plant, thus the need for recipes replicating their fragrance as perfume “accords”.  This recipe is designed to replicate the smell of a rose without relying exclusively on rose essential oil or absolute. It may be modified base on personal preference.

10 ml Alcohol (190 proof or perfumers)

3 d Rose Abs (absolute)

1/2 d Clary Sage (absolute)

1/2d Rose Geranium

1/2d Palmarosa

1/2d Ylang

1d Litsea Cubeba

Safety Considerations

Nontoxic.  Rose must be diluted sufficiently for topical use on the skin as it may be irritating to some individuals at higher dilutions.   Please note that only the essential oil or “rose otto” and/or unpreserved hydrosol is considered safe for internal use. Some distillations an/or extractions may contain higher percentages of the skin sensitizer, methyleugenol.  In these cases a %0.6 maximum is recommended for topical use. For oral use, internal dosage should be limited to 21 mg based on 3.3% methyleugenol content.